While celebrated chef Alex Guarnaschelli inspired many home cooks to learn to appreciate a classic pasta dish, she has found a way to transform some of her favorite pasta recipes with a new approach. With ZENB Pasta, a plant-based pasta, one bite might could make you a plant-based pasta convert, too.
Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with Chef Guarnaschelli about her collaboration with ZENB and a few of the recipes that she created for this partnership. Having enjoyed watching her on Food Network shows and having read many of her cookbooks, it was interesting to see the popular chef join forces with a plant-based food.
For Chef Guarnaschelli, she appreciates that many people are looking for a plant-based pasta to incorporate into their recipes. At the same time, she understands that a plant-based food needs to have a certain quality or cooks won’t make the pasta swap.
Why does Alex Guarnaschelli think ZENB Pasta works for her pasta recipes?
For her, it comes down to one single word making the difference. Chef Guarnaschelli said that it is all about the texture. While ZENB Pasta is made just from a single ingredient, yellow peas, it is really about the texture. With more home cooks wanting both a gluten free and a simple ingredient pasta, this option fills both boxes. More importantly, this plant-based pasta has the texture, the al dente characteristic, that people want.
As Chef Guarnaschelli put it, people want a recipe “that doesn’t suck.” Some people have avoided gluten free pastas because of a mushy texture. With this brand, it stands up to the recipes and that concept is what sold Guarnaschelli.
To highlight the ZENB pasta, Chef Guarnaschelli shared some pasta recipes. While she shared three recipes, Chef Alex’s Ten-Minute Buttered, Herbed ZENB Elbow Pasta probably highlights why pasta can be that simple, yet beautiful dish.
In some ways, this pasta recipe is a riff on a childhood favorite. With just a few herbs and a touch of lemon for brightness, this recipe shows that simplicity can be the most delicious bite.
Here’s how to make Chef Alex’s Ten-Minute Buttered, Herbed ZENB Elbow Pasta
- 1 box (12 ounces) ZENB Elbow Pasta
- Kosher salt
- 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, sliced
- 1 large clove garlic, grated
- 12 sprigs flat leaf parsley, stemmed and chopped
- 8 sprigs basil (about 2/3 cup) stemmed and chopped
- 1 teaspoon dry oregano
- Zest and juice from 1 small lemon
- Freshly ground black pepper
Prep time: 10 minutes, Cook time: 10 minutes, Servings: 4
1. The pasta: In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add a generous amount of salt. The pasta water should taste like sea water. Add the ZENB Elbow to the pot and stir so it doesn’t stick to the bottom as it cooks. Cook the pasta until “al dente”, chewy but not hard or raw tasting, 6-8 minutes. Reserve about 1⁄2 cup of the pasta water and drain the rest in a colander.
2. The sauce: While the pasta is cooking, combine the butter, garlic, parsley, basil, dry oregano and lemon zest in a large bowl.
3. The dish: Add the cooked pasta and pasta water to the bowl and toss vigorously with two large spoons to coat the pasta. The butter melts and links up with the herbs to create a beautiful sauce for the pasta. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and cracked black pepper. Taste for seasoning.
While this pasta recipe is easy to make, ZENB is giving foodies an opportunity to cook along with Alex Guarnaschelli. One person will win a virtual cooking class with the celebrated chef as well as other prizes. More information can be found on the ZENB website.
If your family is looking to make a pasta switch, consider this recipe from Alex Guarnaschelli and ZENB pasta. With just one bite, it could transform many of your pasta recipes.